A bit weird: Isabelle Larignon Milky Dragon and Etat Libre d’Orange 500 Years

Last week it was freezing. Like so so cold. I spent a fair bit of time under what we call the Cape of Doom (a heating pad that drapes over the shoulders, a bit down the back and clips in the front) and there was a fire in the wood stove each night except the one when the glass in the door fell out (really nice chimney sweep guy picked the door and glass up the next day, fixed it and returned it the following day – so only one night of no fire). As I post this, we’re into winter storm I think number 10 (Isha) with rain and gale force winds. This morning it was very mild.

I received two sets of samples recently and have been playing gently with them. Somehow, the first ones I pulled from each set were weird and that’s where we’re going today. Weirdland.

First is a new-to-me house Isabelle Larignon. The sub-header for the e-shop is Parfums & Curiosité. The sample I bought is of Milky Dragon and, yes, I bought this because of the name. Released (they are specific) June 2022, this is apparently the brand’s best seller. Notes include bergamot, bucchu, cardamon, rose ketones, cis-jasmone, ionones, lactones, hazelnut, ozonic note, clary sage, Virgina cedar, fir balsam and evernyl (oak moss).

This is supposed to be milky tea with a hit of cardamon. On me, from the get-go, it is cardamon milk with, oddly, the ozonic note coming to the fore at the midpoint and the clary sage doing odd scratchy things in the background.

The first thing that popped into my head when I put this on was ‘lactones’ and low and behold there they are.

I guess this is supposed to be comforting while being interesting. It is interesting but not comforting, and in the end off-putting. Not enough to wash off but this is decidedly not for me. I like some cereal milk fragrances but those have more oomph. So, a no go, but might not be for others if the tea, milk and cardamon thing work better. Available in 50ml EdP for £106 here which is positively affordable.

The second sample for this week was more successful.

I have a weird affection for Etat Libre d’Orange because beyond the attempt sometimes to be really weird and outrageous, some fragrances are just really good (Spice Must Flow). My sample is of 500 Years from 2019. Per Fragrantica this is an amber floral. Notes include bergamot, cardamon (again – not on purpose), saffron, Turkish rose, cacao (not on all lists), oud, geranium bourbon, amber woods, patchouli and suede (?).

The opening on this is rose a bit past its prime and it took me ages – ie, until I read some Fragrantica reviews – to figure out what it really did smell like: which is rose and red wine lees (ie, the bottom of the barrel). So, the rose is actually fine but is modified by that weird grapy, slightly sour aspect. As there isn’t anything about red wine or grapes in the notes list, I think this might actually be a bit due to bergamot and saffron.

As the perfume warms up, the wine-rose gets a bit less sour and a bit more suede-like in feel. Plus, there’s something candied – almost caramelly–if you smell really hard.

As things open up, we’re looking at a good, solid rose, with a nice spicy undercurrent. The sour has basically disappeared and a stone fruit aspect has emerged – plum or cherry.

The drydown is a bit sweet, a bit ambery. Nice, but quite safe.

Overall, if you are a rose person this is worth sampling. A 100ml bottle is £215 here and it appears to me that ELdO has significantly raised prices.

So. Either of these float your boat? We’re moving into an amber warning for wind and it’s looking like an interesting next 18 hours.

Pics: Pexels and mine – but what a palaver: almost 9-year-old PC laptop no longer likes downloads from iPhone. So, download to MacBook and transfer over. La la la…

  • March says:

    I’m glad you could get your wood stove fixed quickly. I thought the first one sounded good until you got to “ozonic” — and no thank you. Although I do love a whack of lactones every now and again. Rose and red wine dregs I feel comfortable passing on.

    • cinnamon says:

      The wood stove has been a huge positive during our cold spells. I thought milky dragon needed more tea, no ozonic note and maybe some pepper but I am not a nose…

  • Maya says:

    Neither of the scents like they would be for me. I like the name Milky Dragon too. The ELDO has saffron in it, so that’s a big no.
    I feel for you on the weather. Last week was the week of arctic air blowing down on us. Most of the days were -1 to -7F (-18 to -21C), the nights were colder and the wind chill often went down to around -24F/-31C. It’s warming up to the 30’sF/-1C.

  • Tom says:

    I like some of ELdO’s stuff and did spend a fun afternoon with Gaia, The Non-Blonde hanging out in NYC, a good part of which was hanging out at Bonwits (I think) watching young Westchester matrons spritz on Secretions Magnafique and run to the ladies to scrub it off. Rose and red wine goop reads pretty nice. Milky whatever not so much.

    It’s raining here and of course the city pretty much comes to a dead stop. Earthquakes, riots, or freeway collapses barely make us blink but three drops of rain and it’s “STORM WATCH: 2024”!

  • Portia says:

    Good luck with your wind Cinnamon.
    LOVE ELdO. So much of their stuff works really well on and for me. I’m a Spice Must Flow lover also.
    You have reignited my desire for 500 Years. I remember trying and liking it a lot.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      Another storm is now coming in but it doesn’t (so far) appear to be heading this way. Be curious to hear what you think on a revisit of 500 Years.

  • Dina C. says:

    What a lot of weather you’ve been having! Sorry about the glass in your stove — glad it got fixed fairly rapidly. We had two snowstorms last week. A couple inches each time. This week it’s supposed to warm up and rain. Neither scent sounds great to me, but that’s okay. I enjoy reading about them anyway.

    • cinnamon says:

      This is a country with weird weather. Thought it was a cliche when I moved here but no. Sounds like you are headed towards slush…

  • Maggiecat says:

    We’re waiting for a few hours of freezing rain here in Dallas , then just a few days of regular rain. Not much fun but we’ve had worse. Recently. Last weekend actually.
    Neither of these sounds like my cup of tea – even the tea one – but I’m less open to more experimental scents than a lot of y’all are. Both were fun to read about though!
    Stay safe and warm.

    • cinnamon says:

      Hope the freezing rain doesn’t affect the grid. These were fun to sample but that’s it for me.

  • alityke says:

    I agree about ELDO hiking their prices generally. Is 500years in their highest price bracket?
    I’ve not tried any of the Isabel Larignon scent but suspect Bangla Yasaman might be my choice of hers.
    Cardamom smells like licking batteries tastes to me. Don’t try it kids

    • cinnamon says:

      Does appear to be among their fancy offer (nice bottles). I have to be in the mood for cardamon — in both perfume and food.